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Moral AnimalsIdeals and Constraints in Moral Theory$
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Catherine Wilson

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199267675

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199267677.001.0001

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The Anonymity Requirement and Counterweight Principles

The Anonymity Requirement and Counterweight Principles

(p.126) 5 The Anonymity Requirement and Counterweight Principles
Moral Animals

Catherine Wilson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Establishes a metaethical constraint on moral theorizing, the Anonymity Requirement, whose relation to John Rawls’ ‘veil of ignorance’ and to the utilitarian presumption that everyone's pains and pleasures must be impartially considered are discussed. One cannot posit privileges and exemptions ‘for me’ or ‘for us’ within a genuine moral theory as opposed to an ideology. Further, certain ‘counterweight principles’ intrinsic to our moral psychology are shown to offset the force of costs to agents in establishing demand levels. While contractualist theories do provide for universal representation of needs and wants, they confound the question of confirmation by idealized theorists with the question of fair distribution to non‐ideal agents.

Keywords:   anonymity Requirement, contractualism, counterweight principles, ideology, impartiality, moral theory, non‐ideal agents, Rawls, utilitarianism

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